Buguroo is warning consumers about three malicious applications that are currently available through Google Play. All three applications take advantage of the Android Binder vulnerability, and were first uncovered by Trend Micro researchers Ecular Xu and Joseph Chen.
The offending applications are Camero, callCam, and FileCrypt Manager, all three of which should obviously be avoided. The first two are masquerading as photo editing tools, while the third is pretending to be an Android file manager.
In truth, they are designed to obtain root privileges on any device that downloads the apps in question. In plain terms, that means that a hacker will have full control of the device, and will have access to any and all passwords and personal information that has been stored on it. The process does not require any additional permissions once the app has been installed, so the victim is usually not aware that their device has been hacked.
So how does it work? The technical details are complicated, but the malware attacks the Android’s Binder component, which is used to facilitate communication between two processes within the same application. The hack tricks the Binder into acknowledging a section of malicious code, and convinces it to carry out that code in a way that bypasses the permissions granted to the original application.
Camero serves as a delivery system that will download the DEX file that contains the malicious code, and is effective against Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Nokia 3, LG V20, Oppo F9, and Redmi 6A devices. FileCrypt Manager uses false overlays to trick the user into installing callCam, which hides its own icon as it starts gathering data.
The three apps are particularly insidious because they seem to be legitimate apps that have theoretically been vetted like any other application available through Google play, making it more likely that unsuspecting consumers will voluntarily choose to install them. That also sets them apart from the Coybot Trojan that Buguroo warned against in December, which is easier to stop with security measures like behavioral analytics and two-step authentication.